Champagne Fire Truck – Interview With Rich Reynolds

24th May 2024

Champagne Fire Truck Interview With Rich Reynolds

Travelling around the UK, serving Champagne from a converted British Fire Truck, it may sound like a dream for many, but it’s a reality for Rich Reynolds. We love the concept here at Glass of Bubbly, so we reached out and spoke directly with Rich, discovering more about the journey into his ‘lightbulb’ idea of a Champagne Fire Truck, his vintage Champagne moments, and so much more.

Tell Us A Bit About Yourself & What Inspired You To Start Restoring and Converting a British Fire Engine Into A Champagne Bar?

“I’m an ex 2 red rosette, 4* hotel pastry chef (Riverstation, Hotel du Vin) 7 years full time & 13 years freelance development chef and 10 years event catering. While looking on a commercial auction site for a second catering unit I saw a 1963 Dennis fire engine which was too cheap not to buy it. I’d been wondering what to do with it – Fire and Ice, an ice cream stall doing deep fried, brioche covered ice cream balls. BBQ – this fits with the theme, however both options changed the look too much. Roll forward two and a half years, one February evening, I was on a contract working in my hotel room when that lightbulb moment of a Champagne bar struck and its the backdrop. A month later the old owners called to say they had another fire engine for sale, this one was a runner and Champagne Fire Truck started taking shape.”

Do You Remember Your First Experience With Sparkling Wine? When It Was And What Kind Of Wine It Was?

“I can’t remember my first experience with Sparkling wines, however, I did start purchasing Prosecco when the craze hit the supermarket shelves around 2011. The trend moved to larger bottles – magnums, jeroboams and finally a methuselah. It was a great party with neighbours drinking the methuselah.”

What’s The Most Surprising & Interesting Thing You’ve Learnt So Far In The Wine Industry?

“The most interesting thing I’ve learnt in the wine (Champagne) industry so far is given the strong regulations in Champagne production, how much influence a producer has on making ‘the same fizzy liquid in a bottle’. For me the most surprising part was tasting Blanc de Blancs for the first time – that is my grape of choice.”

What Kind Of Events Prove To Be Most Popular For People To Hire Your Champagne Fire Truck For?

“Champagne Fire Truck is still in the early days of its journey. I’m gunning for the large, Champagne sponsored events (feel free to make some connections – Ascot, Goodwood, Cheltenham, Wimbledon etc) It supported a Commemoration Day last year which was very well received, and with that in mind I have secured several similar events for this season and gotten onto some amazing supplier lists. I’m talking to multiple Oxford and Cambridge Balls to support these celebrations.”

For Anyone Looking To Discover What Is Served From Your Fire Truck, What Types Of Champagne Do You Offer?

“We serve a wide range of Champagnes – our go to is Collet, a great Champagne, not that big in the UK, certainly is in France. The first Co-operative Champagne producer, in the heart of Ay, on the site of the 1911 Champagne Riots. Grand Marques we have served are Taittinger and Moët. 2013 Dom Pérignon is our vintage and although not Champagne, Gusbourne is our rosé offering (we do want to support homegrown) Other Champagnes are available, including grower Champagnes and if the occasion allows it – larger bottles too. A repeat corporate client back in December had multiple magnums, jeroboams and a methuselah. There were plenty of picture requests with the methuselah bottle”

What Sparkling Wine Producing Countries or Regions Hold A Special Place In Your Heart? Is It Champagne That Takes The Top Spot Or Are There Any Others That You Enjoy Exploring & Tasting?

“Champagne holds the top spot so far and the more I find out, the more I find there is to learn. I have made connections with a few English Sparkling producers, and will get to visit those and others when business allows some downtime.”

Where’s The Most Memorable Place You’ve Enjoyed A Glass of Bubbly?

“There is a growing list….. Trying Blanc de Blancs on a Lanson tour will always hold a special place in my heart as I now know to look for Chardonnay lead Champagnes. Doing a tasting of Champagne in a vineyard where the grapes were grown while visiting Duval Leroy with friends was a very special moment also.”

Additional Question Asked On Behalf Of Champagne Collectors – What’s The Oldest Vintage Champagne You’ve Tasted?

“A 1993 Dom Pérignon which I won at auction, I shared it with two best friends on Christmas Day, an amazing way to enjoy the Champagne. Saw an amazing selection on the last auction, had to use funds to repair the head on the fire engine after it dropped a valve – there will be the next one.”

Thank you, Rich, for sharing your story and experiences with us and we at Glass of Bubbly wish you the very best for the future!

Photo Credit belongs to Rich Reynolds, Glass of Bubbly was granted permission, to use them.

Oliver Walkey

Champagne and Sparkling Wine Writer, Focused on Bringing the Exciting and Fascinating World of Bubbly to You.